The definition of fear is: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous is a threat or will possibly cause pain. (N)
OR To be afraid of something or someone that is likely to be threatening, dangerous or able to cause pain. (V)
To put it in the simplest terms fear is a survival mechanism. It is an emotion that helps us to survive. Feeling fear triggers the fight or flight response within the temporal lobe of the brain called amygdala. This then releases hormones and neurochemicals that increase both your breathing and heart rate. This causes an increase in blood to the muscles so they are ready for the fight or the flight. This has been said to be a survival reaction from the dawn of time. Cavemen needed to be able to fight or run away from the many perils to their existence back when Saber Tooth Tigers still roamed the land.
The Human Brain
We all know that the brain is incredibly complex. It has100 billion nerve cells making up a communication network that drives everything we do.
There are different areas of the human brain that set up to deal with fear and they are:
- Thalamus – it decides where to send incoming data from your senses like your eyes, ears, and nose.
- Sensory cortex- it interprets this data.
- Hippocampus- it stores and retrieves memories and processes stimuli.
- Amygdala- its job is to decode the emotion.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In saying those now famous words he was unknowingly describing Phobophobia, the fear of being afraid. I think we will see more and more people suffer from that in the future. People are no longer expected to deal with any negative emotions as we all become more and more sensitive to the slightest offence. But that is pulling me down a twisty rabbit hole and I will leave my opinions on the matter there for now
So, what is fear? I believe it is different for all of us. We may enjoy it on the movie screen or at Halloween and it is why we ride roller coasters. Those are relatively safe and we get to go back to our homes and continue living. How would we really react to real fear? I am not referring to being jump scared by a freaky clown but to a life or death situation. Do you know? I can only hope that if I am ever in a life or death situation that I will remember to breathe because screaming could save a life and you cannot scream if you hold your breath. If you have had a scary situation that you would like to share please know that the comment section is there for you waiting to learn about it. Stay safe and sound everyone.